The Proof is in the Pattern

by | Aug 9, 2019 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

Here's a short blog post (mostly videos!) of some example of training sessions where I was able to use a distinct pattern for the dog to get reinforceable behavior quickly.

What you need

  • starting point – this is typically a station for my young dogs
  • behavior – eye contact, positions, weaves, contact, etc
  • reinforcement strategy – dish, manners minder, pre-placed toy
  • a direct route from where the reinforcement was collected back to the starting point

Here is a pattern used with Shrek for the behavior of eye contact.

Here is a pattern used with Gletta for running through channel weaves.

Here is a pattern used with Gletta for sequencing and building obstacle focus.


How can you use a pattern in your next training session?


  1. Kathie Cybulskie

    I’m try to wrap my head around how this would work with a start line.
    ***My thoughts, and I’m not sure if I’m on the right track.
    – take dog to startline
    – give start cue
    – dog responds by showing consent
    – dog takes first jump
    – “cookies” run to cookie location or reward immediately after dog lands jump and repeat at another jump.
    – now you’ve read this return to ***

    • Megan Foster

      Hey Kathie,
      I would actually split these skills apart, first. I would train the behavior of staying as a pattern. I would train the consent as a pattern. I would train the leash off as a pattern. Leash on as a pattern. Then entire start-line is a large behavior chain, so I would make sure each piece is properly conditioned and then set it into a pattern like you describe. I would first put the cookie jar close to where I need to set up for another rep, and increase distance from the cookie jar gradually over time.


Megan Foster


I have been training in agility nearly my entire life. With seventeen years of experience, I have had the opportunities to work with hundreds of dogs within a large variety of breeds.

I began my agility journey with an American Eskimo and a Westie. In 1999, I began competing with my first Shetland Sheepdog, Buddy. Buddy’s lesson to me was about connection and bond. While running him, I knew that agility was what I was meant to do.